Treatment of Psychological (Psychogenic) Erectile Dysfunction

Psychogenic erectile dysfunction is an expression which means a man has a case of erectile dysfunction caused by psychological or emotional factors rather than physical ones. For example, stress is obviously a common cause of erection problems.

In many cases, men with erectile dysfunction caused by stressful life events will see the problem gradually disappear over time as the event which caused it fades into the past.

How long such erectile difficulties last is usually related to the intensity of the trauma of the event which caused the erectile dysfunction.

The way forward depends on how long the erectile dysfunction lasts: if the problem continues for an unduly long period of time, cure by a specialist sex therapist may be helpful. The treatment methods which such a therapist would use are the ones described on this website.

Of course, if a man's erectile dysfunction has a physical cause, that must be treated medically as well; and since the origin of erectile dysfunction can be complex, involving both physical and psychological issues, a combined treatment encompassing both ways of approach is often the best.

And even men with an emotionally or psychologically based case of erectile dysfunction often find Viagra helpful as a temporary cure, no matter what the underlying factors happen to be.

Many men with primarily psychological causes to their erectile dysfunction, such as a recent life event, perhaps the death of a family member or excessive stress at work or in their relationship, will see their erections return once the source of the stress has been removed or reduced, or in the case of a loss, once sufficient time has passed.

The way to cure psychologically based cases of erectile dysfunction is to make sure a man's partner is supportive of the treatment. So not only counseling and psychotherapy, but also self-help treatments for erectile dysfunction like the ones described in detail on this website, all require the involvement of a man's partner. 

Other sections on the website about erectile dysfunction

Home ] Diagnosis of Erectile Dysfunction ] The Causes of Erectile Dysfunction ] Effects of Erectile Dysfunction On Men and Their Partners ] Treatment for Erectile Dysfunction ] The Science of Treating Erectile Dysfunction ]

Home ] [ Treatment of psychological (psychogenic) ED ] Treating ED caused by anxiety ] Viagra and Effective treatment of ED ] Treatment of erectile dysfunction ] Background Information About Treatment ] Erectile Dysfunction - Home Treatment Strategies ] Effective treatment for erectile dysfunction ] Guidelines for the treatment of Erectile Dysfunction (1) ] Revised guidelines for the treatment of ED (2) ]

Psychotherapy for Psychogenic Erectile Dysfunction

In general, there are two types of psychotherapy: psychodynamic therapy and counseling. Psychodynamic therapy assumes that erectile dysfunction is a sign of an underlying subconscious problem or sexual conflict, and revealing this and resolving it will cure the erectile dysfunction.

Part of this approach is to ensure that a man is reassured, encouraged, and given the opportunity to say what is on his mind. Counseling will follow a similar path, again involving both a man and his partner, but with perhaps less exploration of the deeper issues. In both cases, it is actually rather important to have the partner involved in therapy.

Sex Therapy For Erectile Dysfunction

In the 1970s Masters and Johnson developed an approach for the treatment of erectile dysfunction which involved putting the focus of attention during sex on what one was feeling in one's body rather than on what one was doing (or how one was doing).

The sex therapist would give the client a series of instructions on what to do during sex, especially on how to have physical contact only for  pleasurable physical sensation, not for sexual arousal and intercourse.

This non-goal-oriented approach gives a man and his partner the opportunity to focus on what they feel rather than on their sexual performance.

Also, not having to focus on sexual activity helps to alleviate performance pressure: the aim is to make sexuality something separate from performance anxiety, inhibition, and guilt, that it to say, the emotions surrounding sex.

This is called sensory or sensate focus, and as a man and his partner gradually get used to this different way of having sex, they can move towards genital stimulation without stressful goals like orgasm and intercourse.

This non-demanding and non-goal-oriented approach to sex means the man is probably going to get an erection. Without going into too much details about the treatment methodology, we can make a few points (the full method is described in the members' area of this website).

Once a man has an erection, he can stop enjoying his partner's touch and allow his erection to subside before he and his partner continue with sex. In this way it becomes clear that getting and keeping an erection is a natural process and no conscious effort is required. Why is this important?

Simply because men with performance anxiety are often goal-directed and think they must somehow cause an erection to happen rather than just letting events take their course. Gradually, a man will find he is getting more and more reliable erections, and intercourse becomes easier.

Many men with psychological erectile dysfunction will improve if they simply stop having sexual intercourse for a while and instead focus on enjoying the physical sensations of pleasure rather than sexual arousal.

So intercourse would not be permitted, for example, and any erections that did occur would be allowed to subside before sexual / sensory stimulation was resumed. The man would concentrate on the physical sensations he's feeling and keep his awareness on his partner's responses rather than his erection. Once he knows his erection is reliable, he and his partner can once again resume intercourse .

If there are relationship problems, these need to be addressed before the erectile dysfunction. If a couple have interpersonal difficulties, it's unlikely they'll find it easy to cooperate in psychosexual therapy.